Latest posts by Phil Kocher (see all)
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As if the Rangers’ announcement that they will buy out the final years of Dan Girardi’s contract wasn’t impactful enough news today, Bob McKenzie just poured fuel on the fire. Apparently, Derek Stepan is on the block.
NYR centre Derek Stepan's name is fairly prominent in trade chatter. Stepan's contract has four more years with AAV of $6M.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 14, 2017
McKenzie later corrected the $6M typo (his AAV is $6.5M), but the news alone was enough to cause another set of heart palpitations as Rangers fans hardly knew what to do with themselves.
Questions and rumors of Stepan’s future with the Rangers have been elevated since the Blueshirts’ second-round loss to the Senators, in the wake of which Stepan was especially critical of himself:
“Individually, I’m disappointed and ashamed and flat-out embarrassed,” Stepan said. “It kills me I was not able to find my game. It is what it is, just have to live with it.”
“It’s confidence for me,” he said. “Confidence in making the right plays. Just struggled to do it, all playoff long.”
An important factor to all of this is the fact that Stepan has a full No Trade Clause (NTC) that will kick in on July 1st. Until that day comes, he has no recourse or say in where he can be dealt. That gives Jeff Gorton a small but unique window in which he can potentially dramatically alter the look of his Rangers should he opt to move Stepan within it.
Derek Stepan led the Rangers in PP points last season (18), 3rd on team in points (55). Led NYR in shots (209), 2nd in TOI among F (18:36).
— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) June 14, 2017
With just five days before Vegas expansion begins, one thing is for certain — this news will leave Rangers fans with pins and needles, nervously anticipating whatever action or inaction Gorton takes.